Team Pd GD Pt
1 Arbroath 22 19 41
2 Inverness CT 21 12 37
3 Kilmarnock 21 12 37
4 Raith Rovers 22 7 35
5 Partick Thistle 20 14 33
6 Hamilton Academical 22 -13 24
7 Ayr United 21 -15 21
8 Greenock Morton 21 -7 20
9 Queen of the South 21 -12 18
10 Dunfermline 21 -17 18
Updated: 15th Jan
Saturday January 8th 2022

Inverness CT 1 – 1 Raith Rovers

ROSS FIRES A ROCKET AS RAITH DRAW

A late strike from substitute Reece McAlear denied Raith a win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle, as Rovers settled for a point following this entertaining and at times frantic encounter in the Highland capital. Raith had taken a deserved lead following Ethan Ross’s first-half blockbuster, but came up short following a spirited fight-back from their hosts.

Ross’s sixth goal of the season had put Raith in the driving seat, with John McGlynn’s 3-5-2 formation giving Rovers the numbers in key areas to out-fox their hosts in the first half. However, with Billy Dodds opting to go man-for-man to match Rovers’ formation in the second, slowly the home side came back into the game, and – although Raith worked manfully to keep their opponents at arm’s-length – McAlear’s fine late goal robbed the Kirkcaldy side of the win. While both sides had their chances, Raith’s resolute defence and strength and craft in midfield meant it was the visitors who would reflect on this as two points dropped rather than a point gained.

Raith, looking for a first League win over their opponents in twenty-six attempts, were bristling with January re-enforcements. Last week’s Fife derby had seen encouraging first performances from long-term signing Sam Stanton and Rangers’ loanee Ben Williamson. Both took their places alongside Ross Matthews in a three-man midfield, supporting Ethan Ross and Ethon Varian upfront. Tom Lang dropped out with Christophe Berra returning from suspension. Striker Jamie Gullan – at Raith on a two-and-a-half year contract following three separate loan spells, took his place amongst the substitutes.

Inverness, for so long the dominant side in the Championship, had hit rocky ground in recent weeks. Hamilton Arbroath and Dunfermline had each taken wins from the Caledonian Stadium in recent fixtures. An injury to Aaron Doran and prolific Michael Gardyne’s departure to Montrose had robbed manager Billy Dodds of two likely starters. Dodds only made one change – with Cameron Harper in for Doran – but the Highlanders would be looking to re-assert their promotion credentials in this most competitive of Championship seasons. Club captain Sean Welsh was on the bench.

Rovers were looking to arrest a run of three games without a goal – indeed, Raith’s last goals from open play came in November at the Falkirk Stadium. Having said that, manager John McGlynn was brimming with confidence, and urged his side forward from the off. Reghan Tumilty had a blast at goal inside the first twenty seconds as Raith’s full-backs pressed high.

The first five minutes were notable for Raith’s buzzing presence upfront – Ross and Varian hared about the Inverness back line. Ben Williamson’s shot may have struck an arm in the home box, although referee Don Robertson was uninterested. A vibrant opening saw another Williamson drive following good pressure from Ross Matthews on Kirk Broadfoot. The early portents suggested each side had at least a goal in them.

The first clear chance came for the hosts on seventeen minutes, with Robbie Deas sliding a lovely ball down the inside left channel for Billy Mckay – the home striker drawing a sharp save from Jamie MacDonald to earn a corner. At the other end, Stanton’s quicksilver turn had Broadfoot and Devine at action stations.

Having looked lively from the outset, Raith had the match’s outstanding performer in Ethan Ross, and the former Aberdeen man put his mark on the fixture with a sensational strike from distance on twenty-three minutes – running clear through midfield, Ross fired a wonderful drive from fully twenty-five yards across Ridgers and into the far right corner. The highly-rated striker’s sixth goal of the season was one of genuine quality, and reflected the confidence in Raith’s early play. Although an off-side Billy Mckay had the ball in the net moments later, it was Raith who looked in charge.

Raith continued to flow through the central third with pace and purpose. Ross Matthews’ crisp drive nearly found the corner of the net with Ridgers at full stretch. Moments later, Matthews again picked up a loose ball in midfield and drove forward – a deflection saw the ball beautifully for Ethan Ross, but the striker could only hold his head as his poked finish drifted wide.

The remainder of the first half followed the same pattern – Rovers a threat breaking from midfield, while Inverness had plenty of possession but were frustrated with a dearth of opportunities. Although Inverness had extra numbers out wide, full-backs Wallace Duffy and Cameron Harper had been under-utilised, allowing Raith’s three centre-halves to sweep up crosses from deep areas. With all going to plan for the Fifers at the break, it was the home side who would need something new in the second half.

Under bright floodlights, the hosts began the second period attacking the Kessock Bridge end of the ground having made two changes – former Rover Manny Duku and youngster Reece McAlear replacing the ineffective David Carson and full-back Wallace Duffy, as Dodds looked to match Raith’s 3-5-2 formation. However, it was Raith first to threaten – Danny Devine earning a booking as he halted Ethan Ross in his tracks. Williamson released Ross again two minutes later, Ethon Varian scorching across the near-post but unable to turn his finish into Ridgers’ goal.

Inverness arguably showed more intent in the opening minutes of the second half than they’d done in the previous forty-five – Duku nearly slipped in McKay, and a slide-rule pass from Sutherland again saw Mckay scamper down the inside right channel, with Berra on full alert. Cameron Harper’s whipped cross saw Tom Walsh in space, with Mckay heading narrowly wide from the second ball.

Raith suffered a blow with Ethan Ross struggling to shrug off a heavy knock – unable to cover the ground, John McGlynn opted for a straight swap, with Jamie Gullan introduced. While the change was arguably a like-for-like replacement, Rovers didn’t look the same threat following the change, with the hosts having been unable to cope with Ross’ skill and speed in possession.

The game continued at pace. Harper and Walsh sat high on Caley Thistle’s flanks, with McAlear breaking from midfield – the substitute fired just over on the hour as Inverness continued in a much more positive vein. Gullan smacked a shot just wide, with Ridgers pleased to see the effort fizz past his far post. Sutherland’s early ball saw Manny Duku bear down on goal, with MacDonald saving well. Like the closing stages of a boxing match, these two middle-weights continued to trade blows as the match moved into its closing stages.

With twenty minutes to go, a Raith counter saw Stanton feed Tumilty, with the full-back firing across Ridgers; Harper continued to deliver a series of excellent crosses for Mckay and Duku to attack. Raith still looked dangerous on the counter, while Inverness were building momentum and enjoying better possession. Liam Dick saw yellow for a hack at Duku.

The game was becoming increasingly stretched – Williamson and Stanton each burst through midfield with substitute Poplatnik providing width; but it was the home side who looked more threatening in their pursuit of a point. Raith’s work-rate needed to remain high, as Dodds urged his side forward. A Mckay header drifted wide; a speculative Tumilty effort did likewise.

With four and a half minutes left on the clock, heartbreak for Raith as suddenly the ball broke for the influential McAlear, who looked up and thumped home with a fine cross-shot, MacDonald’s side-netting bulging as the substitute peeled away to celebrate. While the goal had come out of nothing, the home side’s increased tempo and pressure in the second half had merited an equaliser.

The match continued at a frantic pace in the closing minutes – suddenly substitute Aaron Arnott was clear, firing at goal from eighteen yards, with Ridgers pulling off a splendid save low to his right; within a minute, Billy Mckay had a sight of goal, with MacDonald blocking at point-blank range – unbelievably saving his side a point, given Raith had lead for over an hour.

With Don Robertson’s final whistle bringing the breathless closing stages to an end, Rovers’ players sank to their knees, having put so much into the ninety minutes yet only come away with a point. Having strengthened the spine of the side considerably in the transfer window, Raith had looked strong in the challenge, resolute in defence, and exciting upfront. While the performance earned only a point, Raith should look forward to the second half of the season with real confidence and expectation – a mouth-watering home clash with table-toppers Arbroath follows next week.


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Welcome to today's Cinch Championship League game, Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Raith Rovers. Plenty snow on the way up but none here but it is cold with a biting slight wind. Two changes from Sunday's game, in come Berra and Musonda. Lang and Poplatnik on the bench.
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20 min to go...both teams going through their warm ups
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Both teams entering on to the pitch
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Raith get the game underway
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Tumilty with an early effort in the edge of the box but ICT block
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Ross runs up field pases to Varian but the latter judged to be offside
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Ross again with the run, gets into the box, cuts the ball back to Williamson who takes the ball back into the mix takes a pop but ball blocked
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Berra makes his presence felt against McKay who looks for the foul
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Berra with timely intervention as McKay looked offside
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Raith charge forward with Matthews the instigator, ball eventually falls to Ross perhaps a bit too slow to ping the ball...shot is blocked anyway
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Ball is floated up field to Williamson, too much for him to do anything with it
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Sutherland for ICT makes a shot, it must have taken a deflation as MacDonald scrambles to keep the ball in play
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McKay is in the box, he's eyeing up the shot. Macdinald had come out and is scrabbling around the floor to distract McKay..Ball out for a corner
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After push by Raith, Raith play the ball into the box but ICT cover
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Matthews goes for a run, he has Williamson on his right and rightly plays to him but ICT make the challenge
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Stanton from a Raith free kick gets the ball into the ICT box, they clear
23
GGOAAALLLL RAITH
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It's Ethan ROSS who fires home Raith's first goal of the afternoon
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Free kick ICT just in Raith half after Matthews fouls
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Ooooh it looked as tho ICT score but linesman has flagged offside
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Good throw in from Tumilty to Ross but the latter is marked and challenged off the ball
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Ball played up field to Ross who does well to try and fight off the ICT defensive
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Williamson booked for a heavy challenge
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Free kick ball from Harper is lobbed into the Raith box and MacDonald collects
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Williamson tries to get the ball out of the Raith half but is challenged
35
Matthews was ssoooooo close. Ball is played to him and he goes for a low shot but Ridgers gets down to fingertip it away
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Matthews again comes close, he tries for shot, it's blocked ball falls back to Ross whose effort doesn't fulfill
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Musonda with the long ball up to Ross and Liam Dick but ICT have it covered
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Freekick Raith in ICT half after a foul on Stanton
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Free kick Raith after a foul in Williamson
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+2 ref blows for half time Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Raith 1 (Ross 23')
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ICT get the second half underway
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ICT have made two substitutions off go Duffy and Carson and on come Duku and McAlear
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Good play by Raith as Williamson plays the ball on to Ross who runs forward he cuts it across to Varian who takes a touch, goal kick
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Devine plays to McKay but Berra is there to makes the challenge...corner kick
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Raith sub off Ross and bring on Gullan for his fourth debut for Raith
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ICT pressing the Raith defence. Play ends with a goal kick to Raith
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Gullan wins the ball but he's wrong side of his player to make a run
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Booking for Devine on the 47th minute
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Berra with an important head clear as the ball is placed in the Raith box
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Varian tries to play the ball on to Gullan but it's played a tad too late
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Gullan tries a wee knock in to Liam Dick but it hasn't worked
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Walsh making a menace of himself down the Raith left side his ball is crossed over the box to Duku but the latter's effort is over the bar
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Gullan goes forward plays a good ball to Matthews who plays the ball to the edge of the box but nothing converted
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Freekick Raith after a foul on Tumilty just in ICT half
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Ball played up to Gullan but he has two men on him and can't do anything with it
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March attendance been reported as 478
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Good play by Raith as Stanton powers forward, plays to Tumilty but his shot doesn't come to anything
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Raith corner
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Free kick ICT as Liam Dick picks up a yellow
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ICT free kick comes to nothing as ball is played high and out for a goal kick
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ICT make a substitution as off goes Allardice and on comes Welsh
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Freekick Raith after Stanton bundled off the ball
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Raith sub off Varian and bring on Poplatnik
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Stanton with a shot but it doesn't trouble Ridgers
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Ball played to Gullan but he's offside...however he receives a booking for kicking the ball away
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Corner Raith as ICT leave the ball
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Berra booked for supposedly getting in Ridger's way
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Williamson gets the ball into the box and goes to ground, looks for the penalty would have been soft in my opinion
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Raith sub off Williamson and bring on Arnott
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Five minutes to go, as it stands Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Raith 1 (Ross 23')
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Goal ICT... McAlear
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Benedictus blocks a McKay shot
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ICT have found a third wind as they charge forward
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From an ICT freekick ball is lumped forward and MacDonald collects
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Gullan squares to Arnott who has a shot but Ridgers saves
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ICT keep pressing too
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Poplatnik's knock-on doesn't quite get into Gullan's path
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Ref blows for fulltime Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1 ( McAlear 85') Raith 1 ( Ross 23') entertaining game by both sides
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Ridgers, Duffy, Harper, Deas, Devine, Carson, Mckay, Sutherland, Walsh, Broadfoot, Allardice

Subs: Esson, Welsh, MacGregor, Jamieson, Duku, McAlear, Nicolson

Raith: MacDonald, Tumilty, Dick, Musonda, Berra, Benedictus, Matthews, Stanton, Varian, Williamson, Ross

Subs: Thomson, Connolly, Gullan, Zanatta, Lang, Arnott, Poplatnik

Photo’s courtesy of Peter Paul:

John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after the draw in Inverness:

After last week’s draw with Dunfermline at Stark’s Park, Raith head north this Saturday, to face an Inverness team that they haven’t beaten since 2000.

The sides have already met three times this season, with Rovers yet to come out on top over 90 minutes.

The Caley Jags won the first fixture in August, with Roddy MacGregor’s late goal condemning Raith to a 1-0 defeat.

It was all square the next time the two sides faced off in October, despite Rovers playing with just 10 men for all of the second half.

Ross Matthews was dismissed after 45 minutes, but Rovers took the lead through Aidan Connolly, although Sean Welsh equalised with 10 minutes to go.

The most recent meeting was in November, when Raith came out on top on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the Challenge Cup.

As you would imagine from a fixture where Raith have failed to register a win in 22 years, Inverness have far and away the better record in this fixture, with six wins and four draws from the most recent meetings.

Saturday’s match official will be Don Robertson.

Head-To-Head Away League Record:

Inverness Wins: 9 | Raith Rovers Wins: 2 | Draws: 2

Inverness Goals: 27 | Raith Rovers Goals: 11

Recent Form:

Inverness: D-W-D-W-L-D | Raith Rovers: D-D-W-L-L-D

Top Scorers:

Inverness: Billy McKay 10 | Michael Gardyne 5

Raith Rovers: Dario Zanatta 9 | Ethan Ross 5

Match Odds:

Inverness: 6/5 | Raith Rovers: 2/1 | Draw: 9/4